Not all 49ers-related ACL news is bad news.
Cornerback Chris Culliver, who tore his at the start of training camp, said he has started sprinting and that he expects to be able to participate in the team's offseason program. "It's hard work, man. It's hard work," he said. "I'll be there every day. Ya'll come, you're going to see me. I'm there every day."
With question marks surrounding the 49ers' futures of Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Eric Wright, Culliver appears to have a very good shot at securing a big role at cornerback in the upcoming season, perhaps as the starter opposite Tramaine Brock.
Brown and Wright will become free agents next month, and Brown at least thinks he will test the market. Wright seemed to get passed over by Perrish Cox in the cornerback pecking order, and now his future is in doubt. Lastly, the 49ers asked Rogers to take a pay cut last year, a request he is likely to get again this year. Rogers said he will sit down with his agent and discuss how to approach the offseason.
Culliver said he also has something to offer linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who suffered at least a torn ACL in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Culliver said he spoke briefly to Bowman and texted him to let him know that he will help the linebacker through his rehabilitation, which can take up to a year.
"I'm going to be there every step of the way, I know that," the cornerback said. "And help him out in anything he needs, any concern he has. ... I'm going to be there. Because I'm going through it right now."
Culliver said patience and hard work were the keys to returning from the injury. "It definitely was hard," he said of watching Bowman go down in the fourth quarter. "I cried. ... You play this game and put all your effort into it. It's injuries, and it comes with the game. But it's hard. You just have to find a way to keep your spirits up and keep pushing."
- Matt Barrows